The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has come under severe criticisms from the electorates over the poor conduct of last weekend’s Presidential and National Assembly Elections, especially in Calabar and its environs according to our survey.
The weekend polls were greatly undermined by the perennial logistics challenge compounded by ill-trained ad-hoc staff synonymous with elections conducted by INEC.
Despite elaborate preparations and assurances of a smooth process, the elections were marred by multiple hiccups, ranging from late arrival of materials at polling units, incompetent ad-hoc staff, missing results sheets, inadequate ballot papers, and poor response mechanism to faulty BIVAS Machines.
The elections, expected to commence at 8:00am could not start as planned at most polling units in the metropolis, thereby leaving huge of voters who turned up to cast their votes frustrated under the harsh sunny weather.
At PU 19, Ward 9, located around Hill Crest School Lemma in Calabar, the INEC team along with election materials arrived at exactly 2:45 pm with no tangible reasons for the lateness. A voter at Ward 5 by Equatorial Guinea Consulate hinted that materials got to the PU by 2:30 pm with the Presiding Officer attributing their lateness to transportation difficulty from the RAG Centre.
Elections in Ward 4 started at 12:00pm after concerned individuals opted to use their vehicles to convey INEC teams converged at the RAG Centre, State Housing Primary School to the over 29 Polling Units where voters were waiting in dismay.
In Ward 6, Senate Result Sheets were conspicuously missing in all the polling units, compelling PDP and Labour Party agents to accuse officials of the election umpire of colluding with the ruling APC to sabotage the process.
Security agents drafted in to douse the growing tension triggered by the development promised to unmask all those behind the saga which was already threatening to undermine the credibility of the polls, especially in the affected units.
To ensure the issue is accorded due attention, Labour Party supporters besieged the Calabar Area Office of INEC on Sunday to register their displeasure while calling for the arrest and prosecution of all those involved in the scheme.
Speaking, Miss Imaobong Asuquo expressed doubts over the neutrality of INEC in the sage and called for in-house investigations to fish out the culprits.
Due to the logistic challenges, elections are yet to be concluded in Ward 2, 5, 6, and 9 in Calabar Municipal while collations of results have been suspended to rectify glaring conflicting figures filled by poorly educated Presiding Officers whose results written in words contradicted with the figures entered in INEC Form EC 8A
In Odukpani, Labour and PDP agents are calling for the outright cancellation of the results due to overvoting and the use of fake BIVAS Machines.
Addressingjournalists in Calabar, a PDP chieftain Elder Nyong said the results posted by INEC from the area contradict the number of registered voters in almost all the polling units while demanding for the BIVAS used in Odukpani.
Accordingto him” the results from my area have given credence to the early claims of movement of BIVAS to the Governor’s lodge in Calabar which INEC vehemently denied. We are happy that some fake BIVAS were tracked in Cross River North. How can a crisis-ravaged area like Mbiabo Obom Itiat”
Lending his voice, a Labor Party stalwart from Eniong said, “even in past elections conducted by INEC using manual accreditation, Odukpani has never posted such huge figures, no wonder agents from other parties were intimidated by police from many polling units. It was meant to give them leverage to massively rig the elections. We won’t accept the results”
When contacted, the Electoral Officers for Calabar Municipality, Joshua Umo and his counterpart in Odukpani, Mrs. Ekanem Edem declined to comment on the issue stressing that aggrieved parties in elections have appropriate channels to express their grievances.
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